When it was announced that Sadler Vaden would play a reunion show with his friends in the Shrimp Records collective at the Pour House on Thursday, it was a safe assumption that it’d be a pretty special night.
A number of the Charleston-bred musicians on the bill included Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope, Jack Burg of Punks & Snakes, Josh Kaler and Michael Flynn of Slow Runner, and the star of the night, Vaden, the guitarist now playing with Jason Isbell who used the show as a sort of bachelor party to celebrate the best way he knew how: with friends and good old fashion rock-n-roll covers.
All of these musicians in the Shrimp Records group found their footing in the music biz by playing local bars and smaller venues such as the Pour House, and recording with each others’ equipment and artistic input. These days, it’s rare to see any of these talented players at a venue as intimate and laid-back as the James Island club.
So it was a treat to say the least to see them all sharing a small stage again, laughing and belting back-up vocals that nearly everybody in the audience could sing along to.
And then, as if the crowd wasn’t already feeling spoiled enough for paying $10 to see this much talent all at once, Vaden called his “good friend Jason Isbell” up on stage to play guitar with him to Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.”
The last time Isbell played in town in November, he was sharing the stage with folk legend John Prine to a packed North Charleston Performing Arts Center. And months before that, he took home the awards for album, artist and song of the year at the 2014 Americana Music Awards.
About halfway through the song he sat in on, out came Kevn Kinney, the beloved frontman of the longtime southern rock group Drivin’ n Cryin’, to chime in on the vocals.
For the rest of the night, it was hard not to gawk at the stage as it became a showcase of the some of the top Americana performers in the Southeast, all in a casual setting that was so fitting for a Lowcountry reunion.
Sharing a microphone at the back of the stage was a visibly pregnant Hearst and her husband, Trent, and in front of them, Joel Hamilton of Mechanical River on saxophone, with Isbell on slide guitar, who was later joined by his wife, violinist Amanda Shires, who was also pregnant.
Hearst joked that it was a historical moment in Pour House history for having “two pregnant women on stage at once.”
But of course, it was memorable for a slew of other obvious reasons, too.
For many in the audience, it truly felt like these musicians who came up together in Charleston wouldn’t forget their roots no matter how many sold-out arenas their successful careers would take them to. It was a mix of hometown pride, gratitude, and sheer awe at the talent that had been sparked years ago in this unique little corner of the world.
Here’s to hoping one of them gets married again soon so we can do it all over again.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail